LPGA: Ladies Professional Golf Association
Just as the PGA was formed in 1916 for the benefit of male professional golfers, so the LPGA, or Ladies Professional Golf Association, was created in 1950 to meet the needs of female professional players. Actually, a Women’s Professional Golfers’ Association had already been formed in 1944, but that had ceased to operate by the end of 1949, making it necessary for players to create a different organisational home for themselves.
Founded by an initial group of just 13 female golfers, including Patty Berg, who served as its first President, the LPGA is now one of the biggest female golfing associations in the world. Its LPGA Tour of 2019 featured 33 tournaments, with the total amount of prize money on offer reaching $70.5 million. Like the PGA, the LPGA has its headquarters in Florida.
As you would expect, the winners of the LPGA Tour were often American in the early decades, and it is American player Kathy Whitworth who holds the record for winning the most LPGA titles. Born in 1938, Whitworth was the first player to earn $1 million from the LPGA Tour, and whilst she might have retired in 2005, her record for the most wins still holds strong.
The LPGA presents a number of awards to female golf professionals each year, including the Rolex Player of the Year award, the Vare Trophy and the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year award. If you’re wondering who Louise Suggs is, the answer is that she was one of the 13 founding members of the LPGA who went on to notch up 61 wins on the LPGA Tour.
The winners of the three awards just mentioned for 2019 were both South Korean professionals. Ko Jin-young received both the Player of the Year award and the Vale Trophy, whilst Lee Jeong-eun was named Rookie of the Year.